Kickstarter Is Not A Store: Double Fine Adventure

This is a post-series I should have started a long time ago. Kickstarter is a website that lets you invest in projects that are ambitious, daring...but might not be attractive to traditional investment channels (software publishers, VC, etc etc etc). However, the site is structured to make "backers" expect physical/digital products in return for their money, despite the fact that what they're doing is "backing the project," not "buying a product." Kickstarter is not a store, and various KS projects prove it all the time.

The Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter Project was, in my opinion, the first KS project to really set the standard of ridiculous goals for software development projects. The words "stretch goals" never even appear in the project's pitch/updates, but you can see in their blog that they didn't take their ridiculous overfunding seriously, and now here we are a year later with an over-budget, twice-delayed software project.

The sad thing about this is that the Double Fine Adventure could have been an on-time, under-budget $400K-$1M project, and everyone would have won. That's one of the poisonous things about Kickstarter; encouraging extra goals past what you've pitched. The pitchers haven't thought enough about these extra goals, or what they would do with the extra cash (hint: it should be "profit") should they receive it.

I tweeted out a (somewhat general, not targeted) complaint to @TimOfLegend on Twitter, and his response was understandable in a perverse way; since they're paying their own money to finish the game, and still fulfilling backers' promised rewards, isn't that okay?

But this is exactly what I'm getting at: If Double Fine had just made a game that could have actually been met with a $400K budget, there would be no stress in the budget, and the delays would likely have been much more tolerable.

Kickstarter is not a store, but is it too much to ask the project managers to just make what you pitched?